After seeing Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas items appear on store shelves shortly after Labor Day, I remembered a time when we celebrated the holidays each in its own time and season.
When I was a child, Halloween items appeared in early October, along with pumpkin pie, pumpkin cakes and even a pumpkin ice cream. When Halloween was over, Thanksgiving decorations and turkeys appeared and stayed until Thanksgiving was over.
I don’t remember even seeing a turkey, let alone a pumpkin pie, in a grocery store except during the months of November and December. Right after Thanksgiving, magically, the Christmas decorations appeared, Christmas carols began to play on the radio, the Salvation Army bell ringers came out and Santa took up residence in Lovemans, Miller Bros., Sears and Penny’s department stores. There were no malls in my younger days, so these festivities were mainly centered in a vibrant downtown which was festooned with lights and featured decorated windows and special shopping nights downtown. My siblings and I loved going downtown with our parents to see the beautiful window scenes at the department stores and the Electric Power Board. A special treat was the toy-filled windows at the old Fowler Brothers, which only appeared at the Christmas season.
This season was short, and we did not experience the “overkill” and surfeit of season, which many of us have today where there is just too much.
There used to be an orderly holiday progression of these certain holidays, with Christmas being the grand finale. Today, the magic is gone, or at least misplaced, and the holidays are one big muddle. I have heard several people proudly announce that they have finished their holiday gift shopping, or as one lady said recently, “Thank goodness I am done!” Whatever happened to the joy of selecting the perfect gift for someone, chosen with love and care? Today we often jam gifts into gift bags or gift cards into envelopes without a second thought.
As a youth, I looked forward to the short special time when Kay’s ice cream had rum raisin and eggnog ice cream. The season for these specialties begins much earlier now, and rum raisin is available all year! I use to know the season by what foods were seen in the grocery stores – pumpkin breads meant Thanksgiving and eggnog ice cream signified Christmas. Now the seasons have lost their distinction.
We need to take time to enjoy and celebrate each holiday for its own meaning. Gift giving should bring pleasure, not dread. Simplify by all means. Give a donation to a charitable cause instead of another “thing they don’t want or need.”
I am so glad I can remember growing up when stores did not concern themselves with who could open earlier on Thanksgiving Day. I want to commend Nordstom’s for preserving the holiday magic. For several years now, Nordstrom’s has posted holiday signs in its stores announcing, “We won’t be decking our halls until Friday after Thanksgiving. Why? Well, we just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time.”
Let’s bring back the specialness of each holiday and celebrate each in its own time for its own season and reason. Take time experience the magic of each season. Happy Holidays!